Before I got my real estate license, I had already bought, sold and built several properties. I learned about the importance of service in the real estate industry because I’ve been there, both as a buyer and as a seller.
The first property I bought was a duplex in Huntsville’s Five Points, an up-and-coming area at the time. I ‘d been working for the government for about seven years and I was ready to invest some of my hard-earned dollars. It worked out well. I rented one side and lived in the other, with the rental income paying the whole mortgage.
When I was ready to build a new home for myself, I planned to sell the duplex for extra capital. I listed it with an agent who sold it in five days. Five days! I had the cash I needed for my down payment. Plus, I didn’t have the duplex mortgage dragging down my debt-to-income ratio, so I got my home loan with a lot less hassle. A sale in five days is stellar, but think about this – it was in the days before the internet and mega marketing sites like Zillow. That agent hustled and got the job done.
Most recently, I was helping a friend, new to the area, look for a small commercial retail space. While I knew the areas she should explore, we needed a real estate agent to give us access to the properties. My friend was particularly fond of one small home with mixed-use (commercial/residential zoning) zoning. I had read that developers were going to turn the Stone Middle School (now Campus 805) into a new entertainment zone. The property we’d picked out was poised to benefit from the extra traffic.
I was hoping the agent would come prepared to “sell” the property (it was her listing after all), but that wasn’t the case. First, the agent was late. While we waited, we looked around the outside and tried to peek through the windows. When the agent finally arrived, she opened the door and stood by as we walked through.
We had a lot of questions for the agent. While waiting we discovered that the air conditioning unit was creaking and groaning like me at the gym. We wanted to know if the owner had plans to replace or repair the unit. We wanted to know if the refrigerator was staying, and if there had been a lot of people looking at the property. Plus, we had all sorts of questions about how the zoning affected things like parking and ADA handicap compliance. The answers we got? None! Not even, an “I will find out.” All she said was, “I don’t know,” and “You will have to research that.”
All the excitement my friend had about the property and her shop fizzled. It was a cute property but after 20 minutes with the listing agent, we moved on. Even if we brought our own buyer’s agent, we’d still have to deal with this woman and it wasn’t worth the hassle.
We tried to rationalize what had happened. Realtors are just humans, maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe the owner was making it hard for her. We weren’t dressed well. Maybe the agent decided we weren’t qualified. However, when it comes down to it, selling this property was her job and she wasn’t doing it well.
Full-Service Real Estate
Of course, Realtors do a lot more than open doors! As well as matching buyers and sellers, they help clients navigate the multi-step real estate process. Plus, they help with the tricky part – juggling all the balls that come before a closing. This includes things like coordinating inspections, deciphering bank/lender communications, scheduling repairs and dealing with the unplanned (like the delays that happen when a home inspector has to take his wife to the ER the morning he is scheduled to be at your property).
My Promise to You
I know what great real estate service looks like and I know what it feels like to be let down. I can’t promise to sell your house in five days, but I can promise to show up, open the door, and do my job to the best of my ability.
Top agents show a lot of properties, often on the spur of the moment, but they should know the basics about any house they show. They also should have a working knowledge of what’s on the market and general trends.
- My promise to you is that I will be ready to answer your questions about each house I show, especially if it’s my listing!
- I also promise that if there is something I don’t know (and, honestly, that will happen), I will make it a priority to find the answer quickly.
No matter how great a house is, it won’t sell itself. Buyers need to know your property is for sale and the agents who show your property need to be prepared to answer questions and to “sell” the property.
- I promise to make sure your property is accurately listed in the MLS and marketed in its best light.
- I will take the time to understand your home and be ready to answer questions about it.
If I do my job right, other agents should be happy to show your home too.
- I will make sure that those agents know your home’s best selling points and I will follow up with them promptly if they need more information.
Be the Change
When people ask me why I should be their Realtor, the answer is so simple that it almost seems like a non-answer. I am the Realtor I would want to work with – someone who still believes in service and proves it.
But why shouldn’t I be? I love my job. I’m one of the lucky few who get to do what they are passionate about. I honor that by showing up and actually doing my job – helping people buy and sell their homes.